Is it offensive or acceptable?

What do you consider offensive?

In the online lesson, we considered different ads from about 50 years ago, as well as modern ads. The main questions was: can the ads from the past be considered offensive today, and would the modern ads have been considered offensive 50 years ago?

The question for this post is: Do you find any of the ads below offensive? Would you like to see these ads in a magazine for adults, on a billboard in a public square or on the internet? Why or why not? It would also be great if you could tell us what kind of ads you do find offensive, even including a link to them.

Descriptions of the ads

The first picture shows a racy ad for blue jeans. The second uses religious reference and the phrase “Submit to Temptation” to advertise ice cream. The third picture shows a woman and her daughter cleaning, along with a reference to Mother’s Day.

Just leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts on these ads!

Is the War on Drugs the same as Prohibition?

The Prohibition of Alcohol

Prohibition is a well-known period in the history of the US. The production and sale of alcohol was banned in the US in 1920, with the obvious desired result of reducing drinking. Of course, as we all know, people didn’t stop drinking during prohibition. It’s true that the total amount of alcohol consumed was reduced, but one of the main side effects was that organized crime increased greatly, as criminals took over as suppliers of alcohol. When the Prohibition law was repealed in 1933, two of the main arguments of those who opposed Prohibition was that legalizing alcohol would increase tax revenue collected by the government and reduce the power of organized crime.

The Prohibition of Drugs?

Is the prohibition of alcohol similar to the laws that outlaw drugs today? Some people say that the effects are similar. Do you think that making drugs legal would reduce the amount of crime connected with drugs and allow the government to tax and regulate sales? Watch the video above, and leave a comment telling us what you think – do you agree with the arguments for legalizing drugs? Why or why not?

Steve Jobs’ Commence Address

Steve Jobs’ Commence Address

Unit 18 of the Advanced/Proficiency Online Course presented a brief interview with Steve Jobs. In that interview, he discussed the approach to leadership and team-building at Apple Computer.

The video above contains another talk by Jobs, this time a well-known speech delivered at a graduation ceremony for Stanford University in 2005. There’s not much need for comment from me – the video speaks for itself. Take a few minutes to watch the address, and leave a comment telling us what particular extracts you found to be most inspiring or relevant to your life.

If you would like to read the text of the speech, follow this link: Steve Jobs’ Commencement Address.

Tiger Mothers

The Tiger Mother Stereotype?

The online lesson for the Advanced/Proficiency unit called “Family Matters” introduced the controversial best-selling book ‘The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother’, in which the author outlined her strict views on parenting. Some of the things the author, a Chinese-American, didn’t allow her children to do were:

• have a playdate
• be in a school play
• complain about not being in a school play
• not be the #1 student in every subject except gym and drama

The so-called ‘Tiger Mother’ stated that this strict approach to parenting prepared children to succeed in later life.

The video above presents a different view of parenting, presented by two current parents of young children. The women are also Americans of Chinese descent, who discuss whether the traditional view of Chinese parents as being extremely strict and demanding is still valid today.

Watch the video above and then comment, letting us know your response to the views given by the mothers in the video. Do you tend to have more sympathy with the parenting approach the mothers in the video describe, or with the more traditional ‘Tiger Mother’ approach discussed in the online lesson?

Crime shows on TV

Police and Crime Dramas

What do you think about the promo for the crime drama “Luther” in the video above? Does the video make you want to watch the series?

Crime shows have been a typical staple of the TV lineup for years, and probably will continue to be. New ones come out every year – from the States and the UK, of course, and probably from every other country that produces TV shows. Have you ever watched any of these crime dramas? Each has a different atmosphere and characters, but all of them involve stories of the police investigating and solving crimes.

NYPD Blue (NYPD stands for “New York Police Department”)
CSI (Crime Scene Investigation)
Taggart (A Scottish detective programme)

For this blog post, we’d be happy to hear your comments: Why do you think people like crime dramas so much? Do you watch any shows that feature police investigations? Just tell us the name of the show and your opinion of it.

Recommended books

Hard-boiled detective

I’m a great lover of reading, and I like all kinds of books. One of my favorite genres, though, is the detective story. To me, a good detective story really draws you into not only the mystery, but also the lives and thoughts of the characters and the atmosphere of the setting.

‘The Big Sleep’ is one such book. Written by the American Raymond Chandler in 1939 and set in Los Angeles, it tells a complicated story involving murder, a rich family, a double-crossing gangster and the hard-boiled detective Philip Marlowe in the middle of it all. If you’re at all interested in a story that’s good both at building suspense and has a sharp eye for people and their weaknesses, then I highly recommend ‘The Big Sleep’.

How about you? This blog is the place to let us know what book you would recommend, and why.


Right Here All Over (Occupy Wall St.) from Alex Mallis on Vimeo.

Would you protest?

Occupy Wall Street has been in the news a lot since it started in September 2011. Occupy Wall Street is a movement that began in New York City with the aim of protesting against economic problems such as unemployment and income inequality in the United States. If you’re interested, you might want to read the Wikipedia article on Occupy Wall Street here.

Watch the video above and answer these questions:

What do you think about the people you’ve just seen and heard in the video? Do they make a good impression on you? Do you disagree with anything they say?

Do you sympathize with the protesters? Why or why not?

Have you ever taken part or would you ever take part in a similar protest in your city? For what reason, if any, would you participate in a protest?

Should PEDs be allowed in sports?

DrugsAthletes and drugs

It’s no secret that the sports business is a huge business, that the aim of the business is winning and that athletes go to great lengths to get a competitive edge in order to win.

It’s also no secret that some athletes have been caught using PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs) such as steroids and human-growth hormone. There’s been a huge push in recent years to get rid of drugs in cycling, the Olympics and other sports. The reasons seem obvious enough – the drugs have sometimes very harmful side effects and they provide an unfair advantage to users over their competitors.

But is that the only way to look at the issue? Some people have argued that athletes should be allowed to take drugs. They have the freedom of choice as adults, and anyway, can it really be called unfair if everyone does it? Drugs are just one of many ways for athletes to improve their performance. Here’s a link to an article, from ABC News, that argues this point. Have a look at the article and let us know what you think. Do you agree with the writer that PEDs should be allowed in sports?

Allow Drugs in Sports (ABC News)